Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mumbo 3: Jumbo To Sunrise

Mt Adams, on the first evening.

This is a miscellany, leftovers from a late-season trip.

At the end of September I visited Jumbo Peak on a one-night, two-day trip in between two unexpected monsoons. Following the first one in September there was a gap of three days of perfect weather. I hiked the last two. Then more rain.

Jumbo Peak awakening in morning sunshine.

Jumbo's southern shoulder.

That's been about it. No fall backpacking.

Winter came early has been pounding daily.

If you can call it that. Winter.
Looking south.

Mt Adams, on the first evening, from Jumbo's top.

First evening, north, Mt Rainier, Sunrise Peak, bug.

Craggy Peak, Shark Rock to the south.

This is cool weather, wet, sometimes windy. What winter is here, but not everywhere. Grass is still green and half the trees that lose leaves haven't given up yet, in mid-November. So this isn't bad. If you think that ice and snow are bad. This is not ice and snow winter.

But you can contract mildew.

Keep that in mind if you ever visit the Pacific Northwest. And moss.
Jumbo again, on the way out.

Don't stand too long in one place. Moss hardly moves but if it's faster than you, that's all that counts. After my first couple of years my car had moss. Growing out of it, down on the bottom behind the front wheel where the body was rusted through.

It can happen to you too, so move around a little.
Retirement-age leaves.
Southwest, morning. Mt St Helens, center.
Part of Jumbo's flying-V foundations to its northwest.

The night (getting back to packing) was windy but not cold. Then it was day again.

Clear again, due to "offshore flow". I forgot to use that phrase earlier, when explaining things. That's what they call it here.

When wind is from the "interior" (eastern Washington) it is warm and dry and pushes marine air back out to sea. The clouds stay away, the rain does, the mist, the fog, the stealthy damp tendrils that reach for your ankles. Or if you're sleeping, your throat.
South to Jumbo from a nearby hill.
North to Sunrise and Rainier from the same spot.
Outcrop over the trail.

Which is a reason to use a hammock, but it wasn't needed this time.

It was breezy but not cold and not cloudy, and it was glorious. The sun in the sky and all, the blue, open sky. Wind, but clean wind. No bugs, just air all around, on the ridge top. And sun.

October sun is special. You can get an idea from a couple of the photos, where I managed to catch the light's low angle across the mountainsides. Makes me look as though I know this photography stuff. I was just glad to be there.
Adams from Sunrise Peak.
That October sun. Jumbo's tendons showing.

While Jumbo Peak, seen from the south, is a stumpy plug, and seen from the north is a sort of V at the confluence of two solidified volcanic ridges, Sunrise Peak is a ragged snag sitting on a narrow ridge. It looks like it was dropped by an absent-minded titan cleaning the lint from his pocket.

And though I visited Sunrise on the way out I completely blew it. No good photos.

The peak's tippy-top is easy to get to, if mountain hiking is easy for you. You trudge, and eventually pop out of the forest and then shuffle around on bare rock. Pretty cool. Not really easy but it's only hiking uphill.
Part of the Dark Divide trail.
Sunrise Peak from its south side.

Then you look up once more and see the stairs. And the railing. Which will take you to the very top, where you can stand in that ripping wind and wet yourself.

I couldn't do more than half of that. I'm not more than normally afraid of heights, but that was more than plenty. I got to the place where the rail goes up and takes a sharp left and then snakes itself up the last 30 feet or so (10 m), and no. That was it.

Had to stop there. Got a shot, standing, leaning into the wind, maintaining full contact against the metal railing, of my car parked a full death leap below, but forgot to grab one of the railing or the stairs carved into the rock.

More difficult with motorcycles.
Sunrise's shoulder, right McCoy Creek valley, below.



Once again.


Back west to Sunrise from the parking lot.
Sunrise's railing just visible against the sky.

But the bath was nice, earlier. I carried around seven liters of water up, then carried most of it halfway back before finding a decent spot (sunny, out of wind) to bathe on day two. That was when the motorcyclists went by. First two hikers, unexpectedly, and then a full legion of armored dirt bikers, chased by dust and smoke.

Upwind in a quiet pocket of crystalline sunshine, freshly fed and bathed, I enjoyed not meeting them on the trail. That was a nice piece of luck. Saw a grasshopper.

From that spot it was up to the top of Sunrise and then back down to the car and home.

Not any kind of great adventure or anything but it was choice. Choice. Small is beautiful. Small trip. Good trip.

There's nothing like October sun.
The last grasshopper.


Some Mumbo About Jumbo

Evening Jumbo Mumbo